Former President Obama stops in Anchorage on his way home from family vacation

Published: Jul. 7, 2017 at 12:24 PM AKDT
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An Anchorage resident had a brief meeting with the 44th United States president on July 3, as he returned to America following a family vacation in Asia.

Jolene Jackinsky entered Signature Air Service at around 7:20 a.m. on Monday. She says she had entered the business looking for Iliamna Air, and told her baby that they would be going "bye bye" soon. At this point, Jackinsky said, former President Barack Obama, sitting in a chair in the middle of the room, remarked to her, asking, "Who is this pretty girl?"

Jackinsky said Obama then approached the two and asked to hold her baby and spoke with her briefly.

"He asked what our names were and where we were going. He talked about how fast they grow up and that he's got a girl who's going to college," Jackinsky said.

"When her dad walked in, Obama was still holding our baby and [Obama] said, 'Hey, I'm taking your baby!'"

A Signature Air representative confirmed that Obama was refueling there on Monday for about 40 minutes before continuing on his chartered flight back home.

"After that, he hopped on the plane and away he went," the representative said.

Bomb sniffing dogs with the TSA reportedly were on hand to clear the runway and the aircraft the president was traveling on. The secret service was also present on the flight, as is standard for all U.S. presidents.

As for when Obama and Jackinsky shared words, the president was similarly protected in the waiting room. "Two guys in black suits were sitting like 15 feet away, near the entrance," Jackinsky said.

The meeting and minor photo op lasted only about five minutes, according to Jackinsky, but it had a lasting effect, she said.

"It was unreal, very exciting. After I met him I couldn't believe I actually talked to him and he held my baby."